A boy's life-changing discovery of miniature golf, and his hope that a tournament victory will make his parents finally appreciate him and stop fighting, brings humor, wisdom, and lots of golf lore. As Malcolm takes One Last Shot at salvaging his family, he garners support, wisdom, social skills, and life lessons from newfound friends. It's a rewarding, relatable read, but the constant anxiety brought on by having to navigate his parents' minefield may be too intense for some. As here, when Malcolm sees a faint, glimmering hope that his father will let him bail from Little League, but knows there's a catch. Many catches.
"'What about you?
"'What about me?' he asked back.
"'Would you... you know... would you be mad?'
"Dad seemed to think for a moment. 'No. Not mad.' His voice trailed off, leaving a big blank space for me to fill in.
"Sometimes conversations are full of blank spaces. Like Mad Libs. Somebody will say something and then pause, waiting for you to think what they were too frightened or embarrassed or polite to say. My parents ended a lot of their sentences this way when they talked to each other. They had whole conversations that seemed to be filled with unspoken words, little bits of quicksand for the other person to walk into.
"This blank was easy to fill. He wouldn't be mad, but he might not ever look at me the same way for a while."